THE IMPACT OF TRADITIONAL BELIEFS IN TEACHING PHYSICS. A STUDY OF SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS SOKOTO METROPOLIS

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THE IMPACT OF TRADITIONAL BELIEFS IN TEACHING PHYSICS. A STUDY OF SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS SOKOTO METROPOLIS

CHAPTER ONE:/INTRODUCTION

 

Background to the Study

Science is the study of natural phenomena and it develops descriptions and explanations of the world around us. Science has been developed systematically since the seventeenth century and now has an important influence on all aspects of our lives through technology, health, the environment and the economy.

Physics is a very important branch of science that considers physical phenomena. Physics is “the oldest and most basic of the sciences, is the science of matter and energy and of the relation between them” (Mulligan, 1991, p.1). Physics includes studies of phenomena such as light, sound, mechanics and thermodynamics and develops models of these phenomena, many of which are mathematically based. Students consider physics to be an abstract and difficult subject and often achieve poor grades.

While the world is developing rapidly through the application of science and technology, there is a problem of the students’ diminishing interest in physics, at all levels of education (Fischer & Horstendahl, 1997). Thai education is also facing this problem. Students study physics where it is a required subject in the curriculum, however, fewer and fewer students in colleges and universities select physics as their major subject. Unfortunately, any substantial studies about this problem have not been reported in the Nigerian context. The concerns with situations in studying physics among Thai educators are therefore relied on anecdotal evidences.

This problem is a great challenge for all science educators. The models of teaching in science and physics must be reformed and improved. The traditional didactic model of teaching is based on the assumption that knowledge is transferred from the teacher to students. Teachers provide intact knowledge as an input to the students and the output is the students’ score on the examination. The ultimate goal of this model of teaching is the equality between input and output (Johnstone, Watt, & Zaman, 1998).

Psychological research has focused for many years on the mind of learners. This research has led to the introduction of better pedagogy based on new theories, such as generative learning and constructivism (Osborne & Wittrock, 1983).

Motivation should play a more important role in teaching physics, if we are to maintain students’ interest in the subject. Teachers always teach physics emphatically in the cognitive domain, however, the teaching and learning of physics should also involve emotion, motivation and commitment (Woolnough, 1998).

Statement of the Problem

Students perceive physics to be a very difficult, mathematical and abstract subject. Most students get poor grades, lose interest and have negative attitudes to physics. Research is needed to investigate the relationships between; instructors’ beliefs about teaching and learning physics, and students’ beliefs, goals and motivation for learning physics; on the teaching and learning of physics.

Aims and Objectives of the Study

The aim objectives of this study is on the  impact of traditional beliefs in teaching physics. The specific objectives of the study are

  1. To examine Physics instructors’ beliefs about teaching and learning
  2. To analyze instructors’ approaches to teaching physics influenced by their beliefs about teaching and learning
  3. To examine students’ beliefs about teaching and learning, goals and motivation for studying physics in Sokoto metropolis
  4. To determine students’ approaches to learning physics influenced by their beliefs, goals and motivation of studying physic
  5. To examine the combination of factors appears to influence classroom environment, opportunities for learning and students’ attitudes to physics

Research Questions 

  1. What are physics instructors’ traditional beliefs about teaching and learning?
  2. To what extent are instructors’ approaches to teaching physics influenced by their beliefs about teaching and learning?
  3. What are the students’ beliefs about teaching and learning, goals and motivation for studying physics in Sokoto metropolis?
  4. To what extent are students’ approaches to learning physics influenced by their beliefs, goals and motivation of studying physics?
  5. What combination of factors appears to influence classroom environment, opportunities for learning and students’ attitudes to physics

Significance Of  The Study

This study is hoped to be useful to various segments of the society. It will serve as an addition or contribution to existing literature on the topic and similar ones. It will further serve as a reference material to scholars, physics teachers, students and practitioners who may want to pursue this idea further by providing data to substantiate or refute its claims